Retreat the luxe way with E:SCAPE, Asia’s go-to wellness retreat company
Wellness retreats are on the rise. As our jobs get increasingly demanding and technology takes over our lives, many people are starting to rethink wellness and what it takes to maintain their wellbeing in order to prevent illnesses and burnouts. It is no wonder more people are going for retreats or thinking about joining one so that they can slow down, de-stress and focus on figuring out their next step, or life in general.
Davina Ho and Zi En Wong set up retreats company E:SCAPE last year. They saw a growing need in the area of self-care and wellbeing and decided to create their own version of wellness retreats focusing on unique experiences that result in long-term sustainable benefits.
“We saw the need to bring wellbeing and personal growth together. A lot of people think being well and healthy is just about being physically fit, and neglect the mental and emotional aspects. You may be physically fit but if you lack the ability to control your emotions when things don’t go your way, you are not healthy,” says Zi En Wong, Co-founder of E:SCAPE.
“We set up E:scape to bring people together to learn, so they can learn about themselves and learn tools to take away from the retreat that they can apply in their daily life going forward,” chimes in Davina Ho, Co-founder and other half of E:SCAPE. “A lot of people go on holidays, retreats and detoxes, but then return to their old lifestyle immediately. After six months, they are stressed out and in need of another detox again. It’s a vicious cycle of work hard, escape for a week, then head back to work again until the next burnout. At E:SCAPE, we give people practical tools in nutrition, stress management and wellness to take home with them. We want people to really get long-term benefits out of our experience.”
Hosted at stunning locations and exceptional properties, with staff on hand to meet your needs at any moment, E:SCAPE retreats are a combination of luxurious wellness vacations and adventure trips with an emphasis on personal growth. Carefully designed by the founders, every E:SCAPE retreat is a well-balanced experience that allows you to escape your hectic daily schedule and focus on yourself.
On my recent Ultimate E:SCAPE retreat in Koh Samui, everything was extremely well taken care of. Being overwhelmed with having to make numerous decisions everyday, I really welcomed the idea of having someone plan out the entire week. I was whisked away the minute I landed and given an itinerary that included daily yoga and meditation, stress management coaching and personal training sessions. There were also unique local experiences, including a cycling tour through the southern beaches of Koh Samui, a luxurious spa visit to Tamarind Springs, a Thai cooking class at Island Organics, a local organic farm, as well as a local Thai dining experience. Everything was perfectly organized, including the very well planned healthy menu. There was also plenty of space and time to relax. Furthermore, the luxurious villa was a dream, and the group of like-minded individuals was inspiring and a real pleasure to be around.
Bringing together like-minded people who are interested in improving their quality of life is one of E:SCAPE’s specialties. Their retreats are led by experts in various fields, from executive coaching to stress management, nutrition, fitness and mindfulness. The expert also joins the group activities and meals throughout the day so you also get to build a relationship with them through more informal conversations, giving you unprecedented access to these top experts that you would not have under normal circumstances.
“Compared to going on a retreat at a health resort on your own, E:SCAPE retreats are personalized experiences that let you create valuable connections with others,” says Zi En. “It’s like being hosted in a friend’s villa who has also invited other friends along. The group dynamic plays an important role in creating a great experience. Our exclusive small group experiences allow you to bond with like-minded individuals who form a community to support your growth. It’s a very impactful experience.”
Aimed at professionals seeking a respite from their demanding lives and with a desire to gain tools for better work life balance, E:SCAPE retreats allow you to learn from leading experts from around the world who are not always readily accessible.
For example, E:SCAPE offers the opportunity to be trained by one of Asia’s top Master Trainers Thicha Srivisal and learn about nutrition from plant-based superfoods chef Sandra Lim at The Ultimate Pilates & Superfoods Retreat in October. Brian Crawford, a renowned landscape and yoga photographer will also be leading the Travel Photography and Yoga Journey Through Myanmar in December. Davina and Zi En carefully curate experts from all over the world to create these unique and transformational experiences.
“We select top experts from around the world that you can’t really get access to all the time, because they have other full-time commitments,” says Zi En. “For example, Thicha, the Pilates instructor at our upcoming retreat is a master trainer who trains Pilates instructors. She rarely does privates or group sessions for clients and has coached Olympic medalists, celebrities and professional dancers. This is the first retreat she’s ever done in her entire 20-year career.”
With previous careers in finance and technology, both E:SCAPE founders saw the need for more balance and wellness in their lives as well as people around them. Retrained in Yoga and Pilates, Davina and Zi En launched wellness retreats under the brand E:SCAPE, and urban wellness programs under the brand HASIKO. HASIKO brings a unique approach to health and wellbeing through a combination of movement, flexibility and meditation in a 60-minute class.
With plans to open their own studio in Singapore to house the HASIKO classes, and to expand their brand to other cities such as Hong Kong, Jakarta and Bangkok, the dynamic duo is also looking at an exclusive fixed location in Asia to host E:SCAPE retreats, including corporate retreats that improve employee wellbeing.
“Ideally we would like to have our own fixed location where we can host retreats all the time and invite leading experts from around the world to share their knowledge, so people can grow and learn,” says Davina. “At the end of the day, it’s about making wellness accessible to people who may be initially apprehensive about going on a retreat, because they think, ‘it’s a yoga retreat, I don’t do yoga’ or ‘a stress management retreat sounds a bit too scary for me’. Yoga and meditation are included in our retreats simply as a tool to combat and reduce stress, but we also offer other options.”
E:SCAPE has also selected the perfect ambassador for their brand, Anastasia Ling who is a serial entrepreneur and the Founder of Quintessentially Singapore.
“I think there’s an alignment with E:SCAPE and what I do personally,” says Anastasia enthusiastically. “I’m an entrepreneur and set up my business ten years ago. I fit the typical profile of an entrepreneur – overworking all the time with no boundaries. Every day was a work day for me, which makes me the perfect target audience. Personally I’m a very big fan of this whole concept of mind, body, spirit and achieving balance. I now have my own wellness routine to keep me healthy in a balanced way. When I saw the itinerary for the Ultimate E:SCAPE retreat, I thought it was very well balanced. And I think that’s the key word – Balance. There is nothing wrong with wanting to work hard and building a great business, but we get caught up and forget to take care of ourselves. So when I heard about the concept from Davina and Zi En, I immediately got it. That’s what they’re trying to do, help busy stressed out people gain new perspectives and tools so that they take care of themselves in their everyday life and be healthy physically, mentally and emotionally.
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